On Monday morning, residents of the UK Midlands may have woken up to the sound of a pair of B-52 Stratofortress bombers circling over the countryside as the long-range aircraft engaged in a strategic bombing mission in the Skies of Scandinavia.
The B-52s, whose call signs are NOBLE11 and NOBLE12, flew separately over the UK as part of a training mission that followed the shooting down of a US drone in the Black Sea by a Russian plane last week.
The bombers flew almost 1,700 miles to Norway with the help of French KC-135 tankers. It was merely a usual rehearsal from the Morón Air Base in Seville before deploying ( Spain ). The 23rd Expeditionary Bomber Squadron (EBS) has already completed operations in three theatres this month.
On March 12, aircraft from the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron went across the US Central Command area of responsibility and integrated with several partner nations, increasing regional partner capabilities.
During the flight, seven warplanes from the coalition countries escorted the B-52H Stratofortress, thus demonstrating the ability to deploy integrated air forces throughout the region rapidly. Israeli F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters escorted the B-52 bomber as it traversed Israeli airspace toward the Persian Gulf in a show of force against Iran.
“The mission of the bomber force is to continually secure allies and partners across the theater and enhance the readiness and training necessary to respond to any potential crises or challenges around the world,” said Capt. William Godby, an officer of weapons systems assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Bomber Squadron. “This commitment extends to partners in surrounding regions.”
The United States Africa Command’s area of responsibility also saw the arrival of a second B-52 from the 23rd EBS. On March 14, a B-52 took off from Spain and headed south across Europe and into Africa, where it conducted a low-altitude flypast over the Volta region of Ghana in support of Exercise Flintlock, the primary and largest annual special operations exercise of U.S. Africa Command, which aims to increase the preparedness of key partner nations in the region.
Captain Justin Kinker, a weapons systems operator of the 23rd Expeditionary Bomber Squadron, explained that the mission aimed to “show our resolve” in the African and European command area of responsibility.
B-52: support to allies around the world
These missions followed the deployment of a B-52 bomber for a joint exercise with South Korea earlier this month, also in response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. Later this month, these practices were conducted before the big combined exercises, including amphibious landings.
The B-52 Stratofortress has been around longer than the personnel flying in it (and maybe even their parents), but that hasn’t stopped keeping the United States safe from its enemies. The B-52 can be outfitted with up to twenty cruise missiles in addition to its capacity for conventional or nuclear weapons.
The B-52s have been upgraded and improved since they were first flying in April 1952 (a full 71 years ago), and they can be further polished to match new threats.
There are a total of 78 B-52 bombers available for use at the moment, with 18 in reserve and 12 in long-term storage. Throughout the course of those seven decades, bombers had flown under several different commands, beginning with the Strategic Air Command (SAC) and ending with the conclusion of the Cold War in 1992, when SAC was disbanded. Its planes were merged into the Air Combat Command (ACC).
Since 2010, all B-52 Stratofortresses have flown under the Air Forces Global Strike Command (AFGSC). The B-52 will remain in service until the late 2040s or early 2050s.
The United States Air Force states that its interoperability with allies is strengthened by Bomber Task Force (BTF) missions, which allow aircrews to become familiar with air bases and activities in diverse geographic combatant command areas of operations. Also, allies of NATO.
The 23rd EBS has conducted a multitude of missions alongside allied and partner nations in multiple AORs, demonstrating the expanded US deterrence commitment to our allies and partners and enhancing regional security.